After nervous weeks of determining whether proposed legislation would affect St. Pete Pride, organizers finally announced their entertainment lineup — and it’s a doozy. Iconic singer and actor Idina Menzel will headline the night before one of the country’s largest Pride parades.
The Broadway and Disney legend will be the highlight of the Friday night concert on June 23, the eve of the parade that has grown into one of the largest Pride month events in the country. The organization has also lined up Carson Kressley of “Queer Eye,” who will once again host its singalong night called Queer-E-Okee on June 30 at the Palladium Theater in St. Petersburg. And Malaysia Babydoll Foxx, a popular “RuPaul’s Drag Race” star, will be among the entertainers in Vinoy Park before the parade.
The Menzel announcement is a perfect pairing for St. Pete Pride, organizers said. Beyond her status as an internationally beloved singer, her role as Elsa in “Frozen” and her Oscar-winning track of “Let It Go” has become an LGBTQ anthem.
“Conceal don’t feel, don’t let them know,” she sings in the familiar refrain. And the lines “It’s funny how some distance / Makes everything seem small / And the fears that once controlled me can’t get to me at all” could be from an It Gets Better video.
Menzel’s concert will be the highlight of a month of Pride activities in St. Petersburg, starting with a kickoff party on the 2200 block of Central Avenue on June 2 from 7 to 10 p.m. that will feature several drag performances.
“We wanted to give local talent a chance to shine but I admit that considering the legislation this year, we are putting drag performers in every chance we get,” said Tiffany Freisberg, president of St. Pete Pride.
On Saturday, June 24, St. Pete Pride will put on one of the country’s largest Pride parades, watched by typically more than 200,000 people along the city’s downtown waterfront.
Among the entertainment lined up in Vinoy Park that day, Freisberg said, is DJ Citizen Jane, one of the most popular LGBTQ DJs in the business. Also, energetic pop punk band Meet Me @ The Altar, Malaysia Babydoll Foxx from “RuPaul’s Drag Race” and several local drag performers will be performing in the park.
“We made a point of inserting drag performers. We had to decide, are we going to step back or step up?” Freisberg said.
Over at the bar Cocktail on Central Avenue in St. Petersburg, there will be more star power during a free block party on Sunday, June 25, with headliner and Grammy winner Sheena Easton and 1980s sensation Tiffany (”I Think We’re Alone Now”). Also performing will be TikTok sensation and two-time “American Idol” contestant Tyler Ryan. The bar is putting the entertainment on for free on a stage that will be set up at 2355 Central Ave. from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
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Tickets for Menzel’s concert on June 23 are $35 at stpetepride.org. The concert, which will be for age 18 and older only, will start at 7 p.m. at Jannus Live with several local drag performers opening the show. And the Girls Rock camp band from St. Petersburg called Anarkitty, who were given the chance to introduce the punk band Pussy Riot at last year’s Pride festivities, are also opening for Menzel.
This won’t be the first time Menzel has made headlines in the Tampa Bay area.
She was the surprise guest at Taylor Swift’s sold-out show at Tampa’s Raymond James Stadium on Halloween night in 2015. The picture of Menzel dressed as Queen Elsa and Swift in costume as Olaf the snowman from “Frozen” made headlines around the world for the show-stopping duet of “Let It Go.”
St. Pete Pride organizers say it wasn’t easy this year to get talent for the festivities.
“When we were trying to book acts, a lot of artists didn’t want to come to Florida,” Freisberg said, “so it was really cool for the ones that we got to make a point to show they stand with us.”